Angel wing begonia (Begonia corallina) is a relatively easy to grow indoor flower. However, there are a few mistakes houseplant growers can make that might cause issues like leaf drop.
So, why is my angel wing begonia dropping leaves? The most likely cause is over-watering. It’s easy to over-water begonias when growing them indoors. This leads to leaves turning yellow and brown, and dropping off completely. Consistent over-watering can even lead to root rot.
In this post, we’ll look at all the possible reasons why your angel wing begonia is dropping leaves, plus solutions on how to fix this problem.
Dropping Old Leaves
Leaves on all houseplants have a finite lifespan, which means eventually they’ll drop off as part of the plant’s natural life cycle. If your angel wing begonia is dropping old leaves from the bottom of the plant occasionally, this is normal and not a cause for concern.
If your begonia is dropping a lot of leaves at once – especially if they’re healthy green leaves – then you might have a problem. This is most frequently caused by over-watering.
Dropping Healthy Leaves
If your angel wing wing begonia begins dropping healthy leaves, there’s definitely a problem with care or environment. The first thing to check is your watering routine. Are you watering your plant too often?
You should only water angel wing begonias when the potting soil becomes dry to a depth of 1 inch (2.5 cm). Check your plant to see if it needs water every day. To test soil moisture, insert a finger directly into the soil up to your first knuckle.
Does the soil feel dry? If so, lightly water your begonia. Pour water directly over the surface of the soil as evenly as possible until it drips out of the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot.
Does the soil still feel moist? If so, then wait another day and check again. Begonias can recover from occasional dryness better than they can excessively wet conditions. If you are on the fence, it’s better to wait another day than give too much water.
Large Pots Causing Leaf Drop
Angel wing begonias prefer to be slightly root-bound. If they’re planted in large containers with lots of excess space for the roots, this can contribute to over-watering, which in turn results in leaves dropping off. These begonias have fibrous roots that require small pots.
For the best results, keep your begonias planted in small containers. Only shift to larger pots when absolutely necessary (when roots grow out of the drainage holes). Then, move to a container no more than 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter larger than the current one.
If you suspect your pot is too large, move your begonias to smaller containers immediately. Use a well-draining potting soil such as an African violet mix to further decrease the chances of over-watering and leaf drop.
Why Is My Angel Wing Begonia Dropping Leaves?
Although over-watering is the most common cause of angel wing begonias dropping leaves, there are a few more things you can check that could cause this issue.
- Low Temperatures – Angel wing begonias are easily damaged by temperatures below 55 degrees F (12 degrees C). If temperatures drop below this point for a significant period, this could cause leaves to drop off. To keep this plant happy, maintain temperatures between 60 and 80 degrees F (15 – 27 degrees C) at all times, and keep away from cold drafts.
- Too Much Sunlight – Bright indirect light from an east-facing window is ideal for angel wing begonias. If they’re in an area that receives too much direct sunlight, this could eventually cause leaves to drop off. However, you would likely notice leaves turning brown from sunburn before they begin dropping.
- Low Humidity – Although low humidity often causes leaf tips to turn brown, it has been known to cause leaf drop in angel wing begonias from time to time. Make sure to mist your plant several times a week with a spray bottle filled with room temperature water, place it on a homemade humidity tray, or place near a high-quality humidifier.
For more information on the proper care of this plant, see our in-depth Angel Wing Begonia Care Guide. If you follow all the proper care suggestions, this should fix any issues you have – including leaves dropping off. We also have a post on Why Your Angel Wing Begonia is Dying that might offer some additional help.
Here are some frequently asked questions related to “Why is My Angel Wing Begonia Dropping Leaves” that you might find helpful (plus my answers to them).
How Often Should I Water My Angel Wing Begonia?
Water your angel wing begonia any time the top 1 inch (2.5 cm) of soil dries out. Stick your finger in the soil to test for moisture. If it feels dry, water your begonia. If it feels moist, wait another day and check again. Remember, it’s better to slightly underwater than to overwater.
What do Overwatered Begonias Look Like?
Overwatered begonias will often droop, and leaves will turn yellow and brown before dropping off completely. You may also notice some rotting or blackness at the base of the plant. Roots of over-watered begonias will be black and mushy.
Do Angel Wing Begonias Need a Lot of Water?
Angel wing begonias need moderate water. This means they don’t need to be kept consistently moist, but they do need to be watered regularly. I tend to water mine about once every 5 – 7 days, depending on how dry the air is in my home at the time. For the best results, make sure to water any time the top 1 inch (2.5 cm) of soil becomes dry.